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New permanent boss of Royal Preston Hospital named and expected to start after winter rush

Posted on - 3rd October, 2023 - 1:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Health, Politics, Preston News, Sharoe Green
Silas Nicholls
Silas Nicholls

The trust that runs the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals has named its new chief executive.

Silas Nicholls will take up the top job at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH) early next year.

Currently in the same role at the neighbouring Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Mr. Nicholls will replace Kevin McGee, who left LTH last week, after two years in post, to become a health boss in Gibraltar.

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As the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has previously revealed, LTH’s chief operating officer Faith Button had already been appointed as the trust’s interim chief executive until Mr. McGee’s replacement was installed.

The LDRS understands that she has started in that role today and now looks likely to lead the organisation through the majority of the winter period and the challenges it brings – which this year include the ongoing industrial action by consultants and junior doctors.

Mr. Nicholls’ appointment comes as the search narrows for a site to build a replacement Royal Preston, a facility that will be developed over the next decade.

He said that he was “absolutely delighted” to have been appointed as the chief exec of what is the largest NHS acute trust in Lancashire.

“The trust plays a pivotal role in the local health and care system and I’m determined to ensure the opportunities presented by the New Hospitals Programme help to futureproof services for communities across Lancashire and South Cumbria for generations to come,” Mr. Nicholls added.

LTH says that the appointment comes after “a thorough recruitment process involving multiple stakeholders from across the trust and the wider health and care system, at both local and regional level”.

Mr. Nicholls – whose exact starting date at LTH is yet to be confirmed – currently also chairs the North West Leadership Academy and is co-chair of the System Operational Response Taskforce for Greater Manchester, the area in which his present trust sits.

His first chief executive post was at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust in 2016 and, more recently, he was in the hot seat at Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust until joining Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh in October 2019.

Read more: See more news about Royal Preston Hospital

LTH chair Peter White – himself only having been appointed to the organisation in July – said: “Silas is a very experienced and respected NHS leader who has held a range of senior executive and CEO positions across the North West for a number of years.

“Being a major trauma centre and tertiary provider of services for the system, this is a fantastic opportunity to shape the future landscape of healthcare provision for the communities we serve and I am absolutely confident that Silas will help us to achieve this.

“I would also like to put on record my personal thanks to Faith Button who will be in the role of Interim Chief Executive over the coming months and will help guide the Trust through what is sure to be a challenging winter period.”

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